Amid the state-sponsored ethnic violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was on a visit to the neighbouring country has expressed “concern over extremist violence” in Rakhine and asserted that New Delhi is with the Burmese leadership to “tackle the challenge.”
However, he did not directly mention the persecution of the minority Rohingya Muslim community in the country, which the United Nations and other rights bodies say, could turn into a humanitarian catastrophe and ethnic cleansing. The Burmese army is accused of killing, torturing, raping Rohingyas and setting their homes ablaze. Thousands have died and over a 130000 people have fled the Buddhist majority country in recent days.
In a statement after talks with Myanmar’s de facto chief Aung San Suu Kyi, PM Modi said: “We thoroughly understand the challenges that you have been facing. We are partners in your concerns, over the loss of lives of security forces and innocent people due to the extremist violence in Rakhine State.”
The joint statement by the two leaders promised to “work together” to solve what they termed “a terrorist problem.”
“When it comes to a big peace process or finding a solution to a special issue, we hope that all stakeholders can work together towards finding a solution which while respecting the unity and territorial integrity of Myanmar ensures peace, justice and dignity for all,” Modi said.
Meanwhile, Suu Kyi, who is under pressure over the violence and facing global criticism for not acting to stop the army’s violence against the Rohingya minorities said “misinformation” is being spread to create a sympathy for the Rohingya.
“A huge iceberg of misinformation calculated to create a lot of problems between different communities and with the aim of promoting the interest of the terrorists”, Suu Kyi was quoted by an official statement as telling Erdogan in a call.
According to Myanmar officials, the violence in Rakhine is the result of ongoing “terrorist activity” and any subsequent security clampdowns are a necessary measure to protect innocent Burmese. However, UN, Human Rights Watch and other organisations have alleged that the Myanmar government is embarked on an ethnic cleansing which amounts to “war against humanity.”
The official spokesperson for Myanmar’s central government, Zaw Htay, said: “In the international community, people are spreading the fake news on social media.”
The International community has also urged the Norwegian Nobel committee to take back Suu Kyi’s Nobel Prize saying that she has been turned an apologist for the violence against Rohingyas.
Rohingya’s are an ethnic Muslim group who have lived for centuries in the majority Buddhist Myanmar. Currently, there are about 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims who live in the Southeast Asian country. The Rohingya speak Rohingya or Ruaingga, a dialect that is distinct to others spoken in Rakhine State and throughout Myanmar. They are not considered one of the country’s 135 official ethnic groups and have been denied citizenship in Myanmar since 1982, which has effectively rendered them stateless.
The violent attacks army men have led to an exodus of Rohingya Muslim tribals from the western Rakhine state in that country to India and Bangladesh. Many of them, who had fled to India after the earlier spate of violence, have settled in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan. Modi government is planning to deport the Rohingyas reached India back to Myanmar, where they face deadly persecution.